I set out to buy Endymion from Penhaligon's and took the chance to sample another couple of fragrances from their collection. Sartorial stood out as different but classic. I completely get what they are trying to achieve with this scent. While the idea of evoking the tailor's workroom may not sound like the basis for a great scent, Penhaligon's have managed to do that expertly while producing a very nice fragrance.
Some people may buy Penhaligon's fragrances in the spirit of their marketing. Judging by their boxes, bottles, imagery, even the scent itself, it might be easy to think that you have bought a little piece of English heritage. In reality, they are as guilty as the next of inventing a back story to fit their needs. The modern reincarnation of the Penhaligon's name is no more dated back to 1870 than I am Queen Victoria!
Leaving the marketing aside, Sartorial by Penhaligon's is a classic men's fragrance well worth a try. The only down side is, although longevity is better than other Penhaligon's fragrances, it doesn't last more than a couple of hours.
Whether it’s Edmond Roudnitska’s clever twist on eau de Cologne in Eau Sauvage or Francis Kurkdjian’s gloss on the classic chypre structure in Enlévement au Sérail, reinterpreting a traditional formula presents an ideal opportunity for talented contemporary perfumers to showcase their powers of invention. In Sartorial, Bertrand Duchaufour takes on the time-tested aromatic fougère style, an idea honed to a fine point in scents like Azzaro pour Homme, Tuscany per Uomo, and Tsar, then largely superseded by the tide of lighter, less serious, fruity-aquatic fougères that followed the success of Cool Water in the late 1980s and 1990s.
Sartorial is an unabashed throwback, with all the gravity and substance of its classical antecedents, filtered through the sensibilities that brought us Avignon, Timbuktu, Dzongkha, and Paestum Rose. The result is a serious composition that tempers the traditional barbershop associations of citrus, lavender, and tonka bean (coumarin) with the occasional 21st century embellishment. The first of these are bold ginger and black peppercorn top notes that deftly clothe the anise, bergamot and lavender opening in contemporary garb. The next, and most conspicuous to my nose, is beeswax, which emerges after roughly half an hour and grows more potent with wear. The beeswax brings a subtle and fascinating animalic warmth to what might otherwise be an overly starched and sanitary composition. As it is, the interplay of soapy and sensuous elements generates a low-key background dissonance that animates Sartorial right through its drydown.
In keeping with its traditional aromatic fougère roots, Sartorial is a dense, potent, and lasting composition. It doesn’t take much to make an impact, and a single application lasts me all day long. My only reservation is whether Sartorial truly offers more than predecessors like Tuscany and Azzaro pour Homme, which match it closely in style and quality, but at a mere fraction of the price.
Big thumbs up. Penhaligon's packaging and presentation is great as usual and the juice that is inside the bottle matches. I've heard the comparisons of Sartorial to Brut. Eh, I kind of see it but Brut wishes it were Sartorial. Sartorial is mature, complex and develops nicely on the skin. I've heard Penhaligon's fragrances don't have much longevity, but I got almost 6 hours with one spray to the wrist during sampling. It does stay close to the skin as it develops but I'd rather be discovered than noticed as the old saying rings true... At least for me.
The development of this fragrance holds up to online reviews I've read and watched. A lot going on here but it's all great. Slightly sweet, the smell of starch and an iron... The steam, the beeswax... It's all there plus more and amazingly, it all makes sense.
Find a sample. Get your nose on Sartorial and sniff it out.
Generic (English)man. Will make the wearer blend right in to the office crowd.
03rd December, 2013 (last edited: 07th December, 2013)
You would think with all the notes in this one, it would be a total disaster. Wrong! This has that barbershop vibe to it and I will have to get this one in the collection. Very mature and classic smelling fragrance. More suited for the fall and winter months.